In a world grappling with the escalating environmental crisis and the persistent challenge of providing quality education to underprivileged communities, one organization stands as a beacon of hope. The Akshar Foundation, headquartered in Guwahati, Assam, is leading a remarkable crusade for change. Founded by Parmita Sarma, this NGO is not only transforming the lives of young students but also combating plastic pollution through its innovative approach.
Turning Plastic Waste into Educational Opportunity
Akshar Foundation’s groundbreaking initiative is the establishment of a school in Pamohi, Guwahati, which accepts plastic waste as student fees. This unique concept not only promotes education but also tackles the pressing issue of plastic pollution. Parmita Sarma, the visionary behind this endeavor, saw education as the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and raising environmental consciousness.
The school takes a holistic approach to education, focusing on practical skills alongside academics. This approach allows students to explore a wide range of disciplines, from carpentry and solar technology to tailoring and recycling, fostering a well-rounded skill set.
A Pathway to Independence
One distinctive feature of Akshar’s approach is the way students earn points within the school. They contribute to the school community by tutoring younger students, gardening, serving school lunches, and even healing minor injuries. This approach empowers students to take an active role in their education and develop a sense of responsibility.
Beyond academics, the school instills values of environmental stewardship. Every student contributes to plastic recycling efforts by paying their weekly “school fees” with plastic waste from their homes. Additionally, teens are employed to collect plastic waste from the surrounding area, providing them with practical lessons in recycling and entrepreneurship.
A Model for Change
Parmita Sarma and her husband, Mazin Mukhtar, have set an inspiring example by collecting and recycling approximately 1,200 bottles and 6,43,600 plastic wrappers from the school’s students. Furthermore, the school’s unique approach to education, where students are placed in grades based on their academic aptitude rather than age, breaks away from traditional norms.
The school’s commitment extends beyond its walls. It offers vocational training to students, teaching them skills such as solar panel installation, carpentry, and electronics. This holistic approach prepares students not only for successful careers but also for responsible citizenship.
A Global Vision
Akshar Foundation’s mission goes beyond its immediate impact. It aims to spread the Indian Education Model worldwide, a model deeply rooted in ancient Indian knowledge systems. This holistic approach emphasizes experiential learning, skills development, and physical conditioning—a model that has stood the test of time.
The Indian Education Model’s significance isn’t limited to its impact on education but extends to contributions in various fields, including mathematics, physics, medicine, and even quantum physics. Scholars like Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Bohr, and Oppenheimer drew inspiration from Indian philosophy and knowledge.
A Paradigm Shift
Akshar Foundation’s journey underscores the transformative power of education and innovative thinking. It serves as a testament to the potential of grassroots initiatives in addressing complex challenges like plastic pollution while empowering marginalized communities.
As the Indian Education Model gains recognition and support on national and international levels, it signals a paradigm shift in education, emphasizing holistic development and experiential learning. Akshar Foundation’s impact resonates far beyond its immediate community, inspiring change on a global scale.